Legal Services of Eastern Missouri is an independent, non-profit organization that provides high quality civil legal assistance and equal access to justice for low-income people and the elderly in eastern Missouri. LSEM is a tax exempt 501 (c) (3) corporation.
What We Do
Approximately 286,000 low-income people live in the 21 counties that LSEM serves. For many of them, their quality of life has been gravely compromised because they are struggling with life-altering legal issues such as the ravages of domestic violence, the challenges of inadequate housing, or battling the educational barriers that raising a child with special needs can bring. These are all legal issues that for many go unresolved because they do not have legal representation. Our goal is to provide free quality legal assistance in civil cases to these low-income families. We strive to strengthen families, build our communities, and to secure justice for our clients. Please visit LSEM Services for information on a specific program area.
The first organized response to the civil legal needs of indigent residents of St. Louis occurred in 1935 when the city and the Bar Association of St. Louis established a volunteer legal aid bureau. The bureau became The Legal Aid Society for the City and County of St. Louis, and was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1956. The national Legal Services Corporation was created in 1974 to take over the function of providing funding to local legal services programs. In 1977, our name was changed to Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. In 1993, we merged with Legal Services of Northeast Missouri in Hannibal, expanding our service area to 21 counties. In 2001, a Union office was opened to serve residents in Franklin, Warren and Washington counties.